I love stew, but it takes so long to cook that I never actually take the time to do it. This meatball ragout is a good compromise. It has all the makings of a great stew recipe (meat, veggies, sauce), but it takes much less time. The ingredients are very basic, and you can get a large (or small), hearty meal out of this that kids and adults will love.
Here's the ingredients – simple huh? Carrots, onion, potato, and swiss chard (plus ground beef). Ok, there's a few other items shown below, but you can substitute those as you want. I featured the onion here, but didn't use it in the recipe because I had a date later that night. Made that mistake once…never again!
The only thing that really took long for this recipes was chopping everything up. As a novice cook, I tend to follow a recipe word for word the first time, so I prepped everything like Blue Apron showed in their recipe card. Wow, I have to do a lot more dishes when I cook meals like this!
If I were to repeat this recipe, I'd start out by cutting the potatoes, getting those frying, then starting everything else.
Once your potatoes are frying, you can start making the meatballs. Here's a huge ball of beef, but mixed in there is also breadcrumbs and spices. The breadcrumbs make the beef balls not-so-dense. Season with anything you want, and you can even make them spicy if you want!
Here's the meatballs I made. They are a little time consuming because I wanted them to be round for the photos, but you could probably save some time by just frying chunks of ground beef as you pull them off the main beef ball mixture (shown above).
Now they have my frying the potatoes. If you have two pans, you can cook the potatoes in one, and beef balls in the other. It'll save time. Potatoes take a long time to cook. Remember, an overcooked potato is still tasty. An undercooked one is not!
You can start adding more veggies after the potatoes start to soften up. Chop 'em up small if you want them to cook faster! There's carrots, swiss chard stems, and anything else you want in there! I think peas would go nice too.
Next I added the tomato sauce. I'm not sure why they have us cook the sauce until it starts to thicken and get fragrant. Can't you just add it to the water mixture (coming up next). Perhaps it picks up other flavors from the pan. Anyway, here's what it looks like – just regular ol' tomato sauce.
Add the swiss chard leaves and the beef balls, with some water to get everything cooking.
Once the leaves start to wilt, you'll get a more even mixture, almost like a stew!
Now we're cooking! Let it meld the flavors and reduce the water slightly til it starts to thicken. I forgot to picture it, but I actually added a corn starch + water mixture right at the end to give it a final thickness that you see in the photos. The corn starch is how you end up with s saucy glaze instead of a soup on your meatball ragout!
Mmmm. That's a wonderful presentation! Would have liked more though. I'd double this recipe for two big eaters.
Check out my other Blue Apron recipe reviews. It's a really fun service if you want to experiment with new recipes but are too lazy to browse Pinterest all day then go buy the ingredients.